Oyster And Pecan Stuffing

I am no fan of oyster dressing. However, everybody asks me about it, so I messed around with a new version into which I added pecans to add some flavor and texture contrast. I must say I liked it, although not everyone was unanimous about this. (The dissenters felt that the standard oyster dressing is a sacrament that should not be changed.) Although you might want to stuff this into a bird, it’s better baked separately.

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 green onions, tender green parts only, finely snipped
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1/4 cup dry (white) vermouth (or white wine)
  • 24 oysters, chopped (save the water)
  • 10 inches of a stale poor boy French bread loaf, cut into cubes
  • 10 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the butter until it bubbles. Add the onion, green onion, thyme, oregano, and cayenne. Cook until the onions turn translucent.

2. Add the vermouth and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat a little and add the oysters. Poach for about a minute, or until the oysters curl at the edges. Lower the heat to the lowest setting.

3. Add the oyster water (up to 1/2 cup) and the French bread cubes. Stir to soak the bread cubes with liquid. If the oysters break up a bit as you do this, that’s okay. Let the mixture return to a simmer and hold there for about three minutes.

4. Add the parsley and the chopped pecans. Toss to evenly distribute them in the mixture. It should be fairly loose and wet; tighten it up to a stiff mixture with the bread crumbs, and transfer it to a baking dish.

5. Just before serving, bake, covered, in a 350-degree oven until warm all the way through. Then bake another few minutes uncovered to get a bit of a crust on top.

Serves six to eight.